Predatory slaughter trade must stop, says HSUS boss

Americans "shouldn’t be killing perfectly healthy horses".
Americans “shouldn’t be killing perfectly healthy horses”.

The horse slaughter trade has been branded predatory, disreputable and inhumane by the head of the United States Humane Society (HSUS), Wayne Pacelle.

Pacelle also rounded on high-profile slaughter advocate Sue Wallis and other proponents of the industry, saying they must face the fact that Americans don’t reduce all decisions to sheer profit-making alone.

“Our values about horses and their welfare matter to the people of the United States,” he wrote in his blog, A Humane Nation.

“Nobody raises horses for food in the US, and no consumers want the product.

“We Americans shouldn’t be catering to foreign gourmands by killing perfectly healthy horses, especially in light of the historic place these animals have occupied in our country.

“America was settled on the back of a horse ― these animals have been helping us and serving us ever since, and what a betrayal it is to exploit them in this way.”

Pacelle said Wallis, a Wyoming state legislator, had been talking about opening a horse slaughter plant on US soil for years, and began her crusade not long after the last plants were shuttered in 2007.

“Wallis has been aggressively venue-shopping in recent months.

“She found her opening when a group of federal lawmakers allied with the agribusiness lobby succeeded in blocking HSUS-backed language in the annual agriculture spending bill to bar USDA inspections of horse meat.

“The omission of that anti-slaughter language, Wallis thought, paved the way for a new plant to kill horses for human consumption.”

Wallis has claimed she has plans on the drawing board for slaughter plants in Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington, and claims to be on the cusp of starting one up in a couple of states.

But this week, Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, New Mexico, said it was suspending its effort to seek approval from the US Department of Agriculture for a plant in the state, where there was fierce opposition from Governor Susana Martinez and Attorney General Gary King.

Wallis has also found resistance elsewhere to her plant plans.

“These are good outcomes, because this is a predatory, disreputable, inhumane industry,” Pacelle said.

“But just stopping horse slaughter plants from ramping up does not stop the slaughter of American horses.

“They are now being exported live to Canada and Mexico, and more than 100,000 horses a year are suffering in this trade and meeting an ignominious demise.”

Pacelle said, ultimately, the answer was for the European Union to shut down the import of American horse meat, given that it is “adulterated with all sorts of substances not fit for human consumption”.

The society, along with Front Range Equine Rescue, had filed petitions with the agriculture department and the Food and Drug Administration to have US horse meat declared “condemned” and unqualified for human consumption for that reason.

The US Congress, he said, should pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act to stop the export of live horses for slaughter.


» Horse slaughter in the news




9 thoughts on “Predatory slaughter trade must stop, says HSUS boss

  • August 17, 2012 at 3:21 am

    Not only do we need the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act passed now, we desperately need someone as powerful as HSUS to get after the Bureau of Land Management & the Dept. of Interior. They are both making it their mission to detroy our wild life, especially the wolves, and they are on a mission to kill EVERY wild horse & borro that the BLM is actually supposed to protect. That’s a joke! Salazar & his “welfare” cattle rachers are working very hard to destroy every one of our wild horses & burros and it’s time the voters & taxpayers have a major uprising against the BLM & DOI.

  • August 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    The Conservative Government of Canada supports horse slaughter. The MP for my area Conservative Bruce Stanton has sent me emails with his support for this revolting industry of killing socialized animals for their meat. He says there are farms here that breed horses for their meat. He has repeatedly ignored my requests for info on these farms. They call it harvesting of horses. You harvest corn….NOT horses! It is shameful the role Canada plays in the demise of these animals! Horse slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia!

    • October 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      There are horse farms that breed horses just for meat in Canada and the U.S. They are kept drug free.

      • March 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm

        Where are horses in the US that are being bred for slaughter? Where are they located?

  • August 17, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I so appreciate all that Wayne Pacelle and the HSUS is trying to do to stop horse slaughter, the wild horse roundups, wolf, wldlife and domestic animal cruelty. There are so many animal issues in this country that it’s overwhelmingly depressing. Thank you so much for being our voice.

  • August 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    On the topic of horse slaughter in a legit industry, it is an unpleasant but necessary part of life.
    Stopiing horse slaughter in the US is a terrible idea if it means that these poor creatures are shipped for days, if not weeks, without food or water to be killed in Mexico! Is it not better to put them in a float or truck, and take them from the saleyards to a legitimate slaughter house, with trained veternarians supervising, and have them humanely euthanased (remember that vets attending callouts will use the same instrument to put down horses if the situation requires it, so don’t you dare try and tell me that it is not euthanasia, but “murder” or anything ridiculous and anthropomorphic) before being usedfor food for people or animals?
    Of course, you are all horse lovers. I get that. So am I. But I believe that it is better for a horse to go to dog food after (for whatever reason) coming to the end of their useful/comfortable lives than to spend ten years after reaching that point rotting out in a paddock somewhere, abandoned and alone. No horse, I repeat, no horse, deserves that. And because of the law that stopped horses being slaughtered in the US of A, there will be so many previously pampered horses in this situation.

    The nasty, illegal, horrible slaughter houses where the poor creatures are hacked to bits should be razed to the ground. ‘Nuff said.
    But as a sustainable, welfare-conscious industry that is made as stressfree as possible is not animal abuse, or a travertsy, or unConstitutional or any of that jazz.
    Oh, and before I get any vitriolic replies, I’m a 15-year-old from New Zealand (and yes, if my best boy, my horse, were to suffer a long term injury that would destroy his quality of life and I had no other choice, that I WOULD send him up to the Hunt Club to go to hound food, rather than have him suffer for another twenty years, no matter how pampered he was, he would be miserable not being able to race around the paddock or gallop up the beach.), who believes in responsible ownership and management. Remember, whatever decisions you make should be for the horse, not your conscience.

    • August 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      Caitlyn ~ What in the world are you talking about? The slaughter plants in Mexico ARE legit. In fact, they are owned and regulated by the same people who owned and regulated our domestic slaughter plants. The plants in Mexico, Canada and the US were regulated under exactly the same conditions and the same regulations. There is a vet right there, just like any other European Union regulated horse slaughter plants.

      There are NO legitimate horse slaughter plants in the US. However, when there were, thousands of our horses were going to the slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada every year anyway. If we had plants back in the US, thousands of our horses would STILL go to Mexico and Canada. Our plants were absolutely NO better than those across borders. Since it’s not possible to humanely slaughter a flight animal like a horse in the fast paced, assembly-line structure of the commercial slaughter plant, all are horrifically inhumane no matter what country they are in.

      You said: ” take them from the saleyards to a legitimate slaughter house, with trained veternarians supervising, and have them humanely euthanased (remember that vets attending callouts will use the same instrument to put down horses if the situation requires it, so don’t you dare try and tell me that it is not euthanasia, but “murder” or anything ridiculous and anthropomorphic) before being usedfor food for people or animals?”

      As I said, there are no legitimate horse slaughter plants in the US. Or do you mean take them to a cattle slaughter plant? Why? To be euthanized? By a vet at a slaughter plant? This is just about the most nonsensical statement I’ve ever heard. I can’t imagine what “instrument” you mean. Vets euthanize horses with needles full of narcotics. You can’t EAT them after that. Good grief! You just flat out make NO sense at all.

      Are you possibly saying horses should be taken to cattle plants to be slaughtered – which would NOT be euthanasia no matter what animals are normally slaughtered there. However, IF this is what you mean, it can’t be done because it’s illegal to slaughter horses at a plant that slaughters any other species.

      I’m sorry you would do something so horrible and irresponsible to the horse you claim to love. If your boy suffered a long term injury that he could not recover from, why in the name of God wouldn’t you have your vet out to euthanize him? Sending a horse to slaughter is the worst form of betrayal any one could do to any horse – especially one that trusts you and expects you to do what is best for him – which is NOT slaughter! Besides, if he were that bad off, the slaughter plant would reject him anyway. They do NOT accept old, sick, crippled, lame skinny horses.

      I am in the US. I SAW horses being slaughtered because I lived near one of the two slaughter plants in Texas. It was ghastly. I would shoot my horse myself before I would ship off to a hell like that. That’s best for the horse AND my conscience. Those two things should be the SAME! Horse slaughter is neither sustainable, nor humane, and neither is leaving an injured or otherwise incapacitated horse out in a paddock to die. Somehow, you seem to thinks it’s slaughter or nothing. You mention euthanasia, but you don’t seem to know what it is. Euthanasia is when your vet comes to your place, puts your horse under heavy sedation, and them gives him a narcotic overdose. THAT is euthanasia, and no one I know would allow a horse to languish in a paddock instead of doing that.

      Either you are seriously naive for 15 years old, or you know absolutely nothing about what real horse slaughter is like. And, by the way, we do NOT use horse meat in dog food in the US. Our horses are NOT raised to be food animals. They are considered to be companion animals, and their medications and many other widely used products contain ingredients that are absolutely banned from being used in any food animal and any time. In other words, our horses are very unsafe to eat. Which we have been trying to tell the EU for YEARS. Finally, they have taken action in the new regulations for 2013. These regulations will disqualify virtually all US horses from being slaughtered for human consumption.

      We are happy if they are disqualified. The vast majority of Americans are against this predatory, criminal “business.” If all you people overseas want to eat horses, fine, but leave OUR horses alone. We do NOT want or need to slaughter them, and they are not fit for human consumption anyway.

  • September 24, 2012 at 3:00 am

    Here in Ireland, sadly a lot of ‘surplus’ horses have been slaughtered over the past few years, and you can be pretty sure that whoever deals in the trade managed to get ‘clean’ passports for them, no matter what their age or history. If I, as a breeder of some ponies, do not have a passport by six months, ( or by the end of the calendar year for a foal under six months ), the animal automatically becomes ‘unfit’, irrespective of what wormers or medicines are used. So first – the EU assumes I might want to rear my ponies for meat. Secondly, they would prevent my taking proper care of them throughout their lives as so many substances are banned from administration. As we also produce cattle, can anyone tell me why ivermectin has a permitted ‘withdrawal’ period from milk and beef, but it’s administration to an equine disqualifies it from the ‘food chain’ for all time ? My horses are not just part of my life, they ARE my life, and as much part of my family as the two-leggeds. I hope someone in the BLM reads all the above comments, by the way. They represent the strongly held views of registered voters.

  • October 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    The dog food companies will not use horsemeat because they are afraid of being sued if a dog becomes sick or dies. Up until now, it has been okay for our government to ship drug contaminated horsemeat to Europe for human consumption. The EU has now got wise and the end of horse slaughter for human consumption may be now.


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